Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Cruise Ports of Italy

Enduring traditions in art, fashion, music and cuisine make Italy an awesome place to cruise. Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula extends into the Mediterranean Sea, creating more than 1,000 miles of beautiful coastline. There’s an abundance of cruise ship ports to explore on Italy’s western coast alone. Here are some highlights, from north to south.

Perhaps best known as the hometown of explorer Christopher Columbus, Genoa is well worth exploring. There are promenades that overlook the sea; the Stade Nuova (new streets) and fabulous palaces built when Genoa was at the height of its wealth; and many historic churches, museums and piazzas. Or, take an excursion to Portofino, a lovely holiday resort on a promontory south of Genoa.

Many passengers who disembark in Livorno immediately take off on an excursion to Pisa (to see the Leaning Power), Lucca (to see the Renaissance-era city walls), or Florence (a city filled with Renaissance art and architecture). But Livorno has a lot to offer, too. Once ruled by the Medici family, Livorno was well-fortified during the Renaissance and many towers, forts and city walls are still intact. The canals around the old Fortezza Nuova will remind you of Venice. Another option is to take an excursion to Cinque Terre, five picturesque villages that cling to rugged cliffs above the sea.

Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, which is inland from the coast. While you really can’t miss seeing Rome (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the treasures of the Vatican and much more), Civitavecchia has its own charms. If you’ve been to Rome before, you may enjoy spending the day in its port city, which has a lovely promenade, lots of open-air restaurants and cafes, and a traditional city market.

One of the most ancient of European ports, Naples lies in the shadow of brooding Mt. Vesuvius. The city’s historic heart, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is full of Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. There are a wide array of historic palaces, museums and churches to tour. From Naples, you can also take an excursion to the ruins of Pompeii, destroyed in a 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast to Sorrento or take a boat to the Isle of Capri and explore this beautiful, mountainous island.

Italy is a year-round cruise destination. To explore your options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Cruise the Winter Blues Away



Winter is coming, and you may need a break from the stretch of chilly days ahead. Why not plan a winter cruise? We have some suggestions about where to sail.

Beautiful and close to home, the Caribbean offers warmth and hospitality all year long, even during the darkest days of winter. The beaches, gardens, dive sites, hiking trails, scenic overlooks and historic ports of the Caribbean will be ready to give you the winter break you dream of, wrapped in warm temperatures and tropical breezes.

Central America is a year-round cruise destination, the North American winter is a wonderful time to cruise the Panama Canal. In addition to discovering this feat of ingenuity and engineering, you can take shore excursions to the coffee plantations, rain forests and cloud forests of Panama.

Clustered around the equator (and therefore warm all year), the Galapagos Islands will give you a memorable winter cruise experience. These isolated Pacific islands, about 600 miles west of Ecuador, are home to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth.

At the same time winter encroaches on North America, summer comes to South America, making it an ideal time to cruise there. The hard part is choosing an itinerary because the choices include everything from the Amazon River and its mighty rainforest, to the scenic coastlines of Argentina and Chile, or even a cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Antarctica (note that it will be pretty chilly that close to the South Pole, so this may not be the best choice if you need warm weather).

It will also be summer in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, the northern and central parts of Australia can be downright hot at that time of year. Still, the ocean will be there to cool you as you enjoy the incredible scenery of New Zealand and the beaches and sights of Australia.

A European cruise won’t provide warm temperatures, but will provide the warmth of a different kind. A December river cruise will take you to some of the enchanting Christmas Markets of Europe, where you can drink mulled wine and browse for handmade treasures under twinkling lights. Or, pack your winter gear and venture north to Scandinavia to view the northern lights and visit cozy towns that will provide a warm welcome.

To make your arrangements for a cruise this winter, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor soon.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Learn Something New on a Cruise


You may not think of a cruise as a learning environment, but you can actually learn quite a lot on a cruise ship. Many cruises, especially those that include days at sea, offer fun and interesting opportunities to pick up some new skills.

Exactly what you can learn depends on your cruise line, ship, and itinerary. But, here are some of the most common things you can learn on a cruise, often at no additional charge.

Cooking. Food is an essential and enjoyable part of any cruise, and many ships offer cooking demonstrations and classes. Chef-led classes can show you how to prepare a shipboard favorite or a signature dish from the region you’re visiting.

Photography. Several cruise lines have onboard photography classes that will help you take photos like a pro. You may pick up some photo editing skills, too.

Linen Folding. You, too, can learn to fold dinner napkins into intricate patterns or construct a work of art out of a bath towel. Use these new skills to amaze your family and friends when you return home!

Languages. Some cruise lines teach you a few important phrases in the language of the place you’ll visit, which can be very helpful onshore (think of being able to order a beer, in Hawaiian, when in Hawaii). A few cruise lines offer more in-depth instruction through classes or self-paced learning.

Dance. It’s always fun to get your groove on while cruising, and many ships have dance classes to help you move like a pro. You can join a group class to refresh your dance skills, or take a private lesson with an instructor if you want to look super smooth out on the floor.

Exercise. If you want to keep (or start) a workout routine on board, ships have well-equipped gyms that probably offer a workout technique or piece of equipment that you haven’t tried before. (By the way, Cunard Line offers an elegant form of exercise – fencing lessons for adults).

History. While many shore excursions focus on activity, others focus on history and culture. Some cruise lines bring guest presenters and performers onboard to help immerse you in the history of the area. This can heighten your appreciation of what you see onshore.

For more information about cruises that provide interesting learning opportunities, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Celebrating on a Cruise


What type of special occasion can you celebrate on a cruise? Just about anything! Lots of people cruise to mark a special occasion, be it a birthday, graduation, family reunion or another life milestone.

Anything in the matrimonial category – proposals, bachelor/bachelorette parties, commitment ceremonies, weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, vow renewals – even divorces – are often celebrated on a cruise.

Mainstream and luxury cruise lines are very experienced at helping guests celebrate special occasions. Depending on your destination and the features of your ship, you could:

Have dinner in your stateroom, a very good choice for a honeymoon, anniversary or any other romantic occasion. If you have a balcony, your room steward and waiter can set up your dinner in the open air. A beautiful sunset and ocean view will amp up the ambiance.

Have dinner in a specialty restaurant, another great choice for a romantic dinner, or a gourmet experience for a group. You may have the opportunity to make special arrangements, such as a champagne toast or a special dessert.

Have a photo session. Ship’s photographers are often available for a personal or group photoshoots. You’ll look amazing against the scenic backdrop of a cruise.

Have a delightful spa day. For a romantic couple, there are sure to be some couple’s massage and other dual treatments available. A group can have fun with the pampering treatments of their choice and relaxing in the spa’s lounge, steam room or pool.

Have fun on a shore excursion. All cruise lines offer fantastic experiences onshore, but the shore excursion desk can help you make it really special. For a couple, ask about experiences best shared by two, such as hot air balloon rides or small craft flightseeing. A group could have fun with a cooking demonstration at a local restaurant, a hike to a beautiful view, or a visit to a farm, winery or artisan workshop.

Here are a couple of tips for the best enjoyment of your onboard celebration:

First, let your professional travel advisor know what you’ll be celebrating. They can help you work with the cruise line to make arrangements.

Second, you can enjoy some special celebratory perks even with a relatively small group. Many cruise lines will arrange for a group as small as 15 to have adjacent staterooms, an onboard reception, and a discount on fares. Again, ask Anita, your travel advisor to help you.

Then, get ready to set sail and celebrate!

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